An elbow fracture is a break in one or more of the bones that make up the elbow joint. The bones in the elbow joint are:
The Elbow Joint
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This is caused by trauma to the elbow bones. Trauma can be caused by:
These factors increase your chance of developing an elbow fracture. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The area will be examined.
Tests may include:
Treatment depends on how severe the injury is. Treatment involves:
These devices may be used to hold the bone in place while it heals:
Depending on the level of pain, your doctor may prescribe medication.
More x-rays will be done to be sure the bones have not shifted.
It takes about 8-10 weeks for a fractured elbow to heal.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Broken arm. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/broken-arm/DS01001. Updated June 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
Elbow fractures in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00037. Updated October 2007. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Olecranon fractures of the elbow. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00503. Updated October 2007. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by John C. Keel, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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